Defensive Tackles Tops In NFC South

July 9th, 2014
On the heels of Gerald McCoy, the Bucs have the best tandem of defensive tackles in the NFC South, believes Scott Smith of

On the heels of Gerald McCoy, the Bucs have the best tandem of defensive tackles in the NFC South, explains Scott Smith of

Yes Bucs fans, it is now 16 days before training camp begins. Joe can almost smell the sweat in the heavy Florida summer air and hear the cracking of pads.

Until that horn blows to signal the start of the first practice, you will read all sorts of different previews — in a lot of different places — from all sorts sources. It’s part of how the NFL wakes up from its summer siesta.

In studying the NFC South, multimedia maven Scott Smith pored over the rosters, the histories and the tactics of each team in the division to come up with what team has the best players at each position.

Smith believes the Bucs have the best tandem of defensive tackles in the NFC South.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive Tackle

I’ve put my chips on defensive tackle, but the gap between the Bucs and, say, the Panthers at that position doesn’t look as large as what the Saints have over their opponents at guard.

It helps that you start out with the best player in the game at that position. I have no doubt that some would raise an argument for Ndamukong Suh or Geno Atkins or Jurell Casey or Haloti Ngata, but while McCoy is riding first-team All-Pro honors and the top spot among all DTs in the NFL Top 100 on NFL Network, I’m going to take that opportunity to call him number one. Moreover, he probably hasn’t peaked yet, meaning multiple double-digit sack seasons are a very real possibility. Star Lotulelei looks like he might live up to his first name in Carolina, but he’s not yet in McCoy’s category.

The Bucs added to that strength by nabbing Seattle’s Clinton McDonald on the first day of free agency in March. McDonald racked up 5.5 sacks while serving as a reserve in a D-Line rotation last year; make him a starter and put him next to McCoy and those numbers could go up. In addition, the Bucs have some depth at the position, starting with second-year player Akeem Spence, who started all season as a rookie in 2013.

See what happens when you have a dominant player at his position in GMC? McDonald isn’t bad and the ceiling is still high for second-year man Spence. A guy Smith may have omitted is Will Gholston, who very well could be part of the rotation at defensive tackle, depending how Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers play at defensive end.

If Joe had to quibble, then he would be a bit surprised Scott did not also select the Bucs’ running backs as the best unit in the division.

12 Responses to “Defensive Tackles Tops In NFC South”

  1. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    It would be a mistake to play Gholston much at DT. it will weaken The DE. for the little amount that you will pick up a pass rush at DT, there will be a huge drop off for pass rush From Clayborn.

  2. BucsFan47 Says:

    Our D-Line went from being pathetic (besides McCoy) to being the best in the division. Michael Johnson is going to be our Simeon Rice, Clinton McDonald is going to be great, everyone already knows McCoy but to me, Adrian Claybron going to LE is going to elevate him and make him a great DE. He is already great agaisnt the run, will have RT’s to worry about rather than LT’s and will have McCoy next to him getting all the attention.

  3. FanOfBucs Says:

    It’s about personnel and who dresses out for the game. You can go into game with three interior linemen and more de’s if one of those de’s (Gholston) can flex inside.

  4. Louis Friend Says:


    It’s actually a huge plus that Gholston can play inside and outside. I don’t think anyone wants him playing large amounts of snaps in the middle, but 1-1 against some of the guards in this league a speedy guy like him can have success. As a rotation player, he might be able to do some damage spelling McDonald.

  5. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    “depending how Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers play at defensive end.”


  6. Stanglassman Says:

    Star will be better than Suh in 2 years. It really hurt to see him fall right into the panthers lap in the draft last year.

  7. Hawk Says:

    As I see it, the front seven are going to ‘make’ this defense. If they produce, like I believe they can, opponents will have to use RBs and TEs to ‘help’ at the LOS. That will mean that David will be spending his Sunday afternoons in the opponents backfield. And that is not a bad place for him to be.

  8. Hawk Says:

    Ooops. ‘front FOUR’.

  9. clafollett Says:


    Definitely on run plays but I’m curious to see how Lovie uses him on pass plays compared to Schiano. They used him on a lot of blitzes on pass plays last year. I’m not so sure Lovie will send him so frequently. Can’t wait to find out though!

    16 very long days to camp but the Rays are winning again so that’s helping to smooth the pain.

    GO BUCS!

    GO RAYS! Knock that Royals’ crown off their heads.

  10. You Go Joe Says:

    If only Rob Marinelli…..if only HE CAME TO TAMPA!

    But currently we have a huge potential to come in and be top 10 D and in my Jedi dream top 5!

  11. Joe Says:

    If only Rob Marinelli…..if only HE CAME TO TAMPA!

    Think about that often. 🙁

  12. canadian bucsfan Says:

    You would want WG to play on the inside on passing downs. His height is a huge bonus to bat down passes over the middle. Drew brees would have a tough time seeing down the field.